Charles Ebikeme, MSc Molecular Biology of Infectious Disease alumnus (2004), is a Science Officer at the International Council for Science, and the LSHTM Paris Alumni Chapter leader. In this alumni profile, Charles shared with us his experience of studying at the School and leading the Paris Alumni Chapter.
Charles applied to study an MSc in Molecular Biology at the School after studying Biochemistry at University College London (UCL), as he was looking for a more direct application of the skills he had learnt during his undergraduate studies. “LSHTM provided a larger canvas to explore global health issues; I was always interested in infectious diseases and tropical diseases. The course was a great fit for what I had previously done and what I wanted to build upon.”
His masters degree from the School allowed him to study for a PhD, and gave him the confidence to work across a range of global health issues. “As a molecular parasitologist you become very focused on one particular niche, but being in an environment like LSHTM you quickly realise that you are a part of a whole global health ecosystem. Health economists, control specialists, epidemiologists, bench scientsists, we all contribute to the knowledge ecosystem.”
While studying at the School, Charles formed valuable relationships and he advises current students to enjoy every minute of their time here. “I met great people with a shared common interest. There is a connection between people that have studied at LSHTM. No matter where you are in the global health space, saying that you went to LSHTM is almost a badge of honour.” Charles also spoke about the financial challenges that can arise in purusing postgraduate study. “There is always a financial challenge to pursuing further study. Luckily, there are some sources available to help. These are not always so evident. You just have to do the research to find out. Career development loans, as well as a grant from the Lawrence Atwell’s Charity funded my studies at LSHTM. I could not be more grateful.”
When asked about his greatest achievement, Charles said: “I would like to think the greatest is yet to come. However, the proudest will always be successfully defending my PhD thesis. The culmination of a long journey studying health and one that allows you to go out into the world to forge your own path.”
Charles currently works as a Science Officer at the International Council for Science, where he mainstreams health priorities within other fields of science and policy debates, such as global environmental change, sustainable development, climate change, and urbanisation arenas. “These all need a considered focus on health – and from many different aspects.”
Additionally, Charles is actively involved with the alumni community through his role as Paris Chapter leader. When asked why he volunteered to lead the Paris Alumni Chapter, Charles said: “I had always been impressed by the alumni events held across the world. When I arrived in Paris there did not seem to be one. I reached out to the Alumni Office and they encouraged me to set one up. Setting one up was actually very easy with support from the Alumni Office in London, and in the end it has been a great way to meet like minded individuals.”
Feature image courtesy of Charles Ebikeme.
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